1. Baker, S. Danielle DNP, RN, CNE
  2. Roche, Cathy C. PhD, RN

Article Content

Manual dexterity is required to perform manipulative nursing skills such as administration of intravenous drugs, physical assessment, and catheter insertion.1 Beginning nursing students often lack manual dexterity, which makes learning skills and mastering nursing functions difficult. To promote the development of manual dexterity, nursing students are encouraged to use every surface of their hands. To enhance manual dexterity, students are instructed to pick up and hold multiple objects with digits other than the thumb and the index finger. They are taught to secure equipment and supplies between interdigit spaces rather than placing objects on potentially contaminated surfaces or asking for holding assistance (see Supplemental Digital Content, Photo 1, available at: This may seem like a simple solution, but often it is challenging for new students to change a secondary intravenous infusion without spilling medication or contaminating the line. The use of 3 interdigit spaces in addition to the thumb and the index finger on each hand allows students to secure medication while maintaining freedom of a hand, a thumb, and an index finger to securely spike the new secondary medication (see Supplemental Digital Content, Photo 2, available at: After practicing holding multiple objects, students reported that they felt more confident with nursing skills that require dexterity. Incorporating dexterity training into nursing curricula may enhance student performance on a variety of nursing skills.




1. Kuzgun H, Denat Y. The manual dexterity of nursing students and factors that affect it. Int J Occup Saf Ergon. 2020;26(1):9-14. doi:10.1080/10803548.2018.1442909 [Context Link]